ASCO's Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Action Plan
A Legacy of Commitment, A Future of Promise for All Individuals with Cancer
ASCO’s mission – conquering cancer through research, education, and promotion of the highest quality, equitable patient care – reflects our commitment to equity.
To deliver on this enduring commitment, the ASCO Board of Directors approved an Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Action Plan, which details priority activities in each of our mission pillars: Research, Education, and Quality.
Read the Action Plan and see how EDI is infused into all of ASCO’s efforts.
Watch the KFF & ASCO Web Event
ASCO and KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation) hosted a web event: “Understanding and Addressing Racial Disparities in Cancer Outcomes, Care, and Treatment.” It featured oncologists, patient advocates, and policy researchers with expertise in equity and cancer care to examine persistent racial disparities in cancer. Expert panelists provided context on a new KFF brief presenting the latest data on racial cancer disparities and discussed a range of actions to help ensure that all individuals with cancer receive the highest quality, equitable cancer care.
Watch the Recording
Join Us in Delivering on Our Commitment to All Patients
Learn more about health equity by:
- Taking one of ASCO's online courses related to EDI:
- Reviewing and sharing our resources for patients on Cancer.Net addressing financial toxicity, insurance access, and more.
Want to do more? You can take action to support ASCO’s EDI efforts by:
- Signing up for the ASCO ACT Network to make your voice heard on equity-related issues.
- Volunteering for one of ASCO’s several mentoring opportunities.
- Emailing firstname.lastname@example.org to join our community of engaged ASCO members interested in taking action to move closer to a vision of high-quality, equitable cancer care for every patient.
ASCO has developed a wide range of resources to help its members and the larger cancer community better understand and address health equity issues in cancer research and care. Check back for the latest updates.
Remembering Global Health Giant Dr. Paul Farmer
ASCO is deeply saddened by the passing of Paul Farmer, MD, PhD, on February 21, 2022, at age 62.
Dr. Farmer, an infectious disease physician and medical anthropologist by training, was a leading voice in the movement for global health equity. At the 2013 ASCO Annual Meeting, Dr. Farmer spoke at the Opening Session about global health and cancer care in resource-limited settings. As ASCO mourns the passing of Dr. Farmer, we renew our commitment to our shared mission of ensuring that everyone around the world can access the highest quality, equitable cancer care.
Read the tribute to Dr. Farmer by ASCO Chief Medical Officer, Executive Vice President, Julie R. Gralow, FACP, FASCO, MD in The Cancer Letter.
Diversity in Oncology Workforce Initiative
Increasing the diversity of health care providers is essential to ensure high-quality cancer care is delivered to every person. ASCO has a range of programs, including mentoring and other educational initiatives, to increase the diversity of the oncology workforce and support an oncology workforce in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).
ASCO has two programs for fostering diversity among the global workforce:
- International Development & Education Award (IDEA) program – Pairs IDEA recipients with a leading member mentor to develop long-term relationships and facilitate information sharing to improve cancer care in their countries.
- Long-term International Fellowship (LIFe) – One-year fellowship for early-career oncologists in LMICs to provide support and resources to advance their training by deepening their relationship with a mentor at a host institution in the United States, Canada, or Europe.
Global Health Equity
ASCO collaborates with members and organizations around the world to address inequalities in access to quality cancer care.
- ASCO Resource Stratified Guidelines – provide expert guidance to clinicians and policymakers in resource-constrained settings.
- ASCO’s International Cancer Corps – Teams of ASCO volunteers help hospitals in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) enhance the quality of their cancer care
- ASCO’s Global Courses – Training for health care workers caring for patients with cancer in LMICs.
- Quality Oncology Practice Initiative® (QOPI) – Available to countries outside of the United States, including QOPI® measures for LMICs.
- ASCO’s Journal of Clinical Oncology: Global Oncology – Online only, open-access journal focused on cancer care, research, and care delivery issues unique to countries and settings with limited healthcare resources.
Global Health Equity: Grants
Through Conquer Cancer, the ASCO Foundation, the Society funds breakthrough research that addresses global inequalities in cancer care.
- The International Innovation Grant (IIG) – Provides research funding in support of novel and innovative projects that can have a significant impact on cancer control in LMICs.
- The Global Oncology Young Investigator Award (GO YIA) – Provides research funding to early-career investigators to encourage and promote quality research in global oncology and to develop the next generation of researchers to address global health needs.
Public Events & Media
ASCO shapes the public discussion on equity, diversity, and inclusion in cancer care and research through high-profile public events, commentaries, and media interviews.
- ASCO Virtual Roundtable “From Diagnosis to Treatment: Ensuring Equity in Precision Cancer Care”: The discussion brought together prominent voices in the oncology community to discuss the systemic and practice-level changes needed to improve equitable access to precision medicine advances.
- The Cancer Letter Virtual Panel on Health Equity and Advocacy: ASCO CEO Clifford Hudis joined a panel of oncology experts on ways to move towards health equity in cancer care.
- ASCO-E.C.O. Joint Virtual Meeting on Inequalities: ASCO President Everett Vokes (2021-2022) joined the European Cancer Organisation (ECO) discussed inequalities in cancer care across the United States and Europe.
- ASCO and the NCI Center for Global Health Meeting on Global Oncology: This discussion brought together prominent voices in the oncology community to discuss the outcomes of the ASCO Academic Global Oncology Taskforce and how to move the field of Global Oncology forward. Global Oncology collaboratively addresses disparities and differences in cancer prevention, care, research, education, and the disease’s social and human impact around the world. It includes a full spectrum of activities ranging from epidemiology to implementation science to public health policy.
- Stand Up 2 Cancer Webcast: ASCO President Lori Pierce joined Stand Up 2 Cancer for a live social media event focused on the work ASCO & Stand Up 2 Cancer are doing to increase diversity in cancer research and treatment.
- Atlantic Webcast: People v. Cancer Equity in Care: At a virtual event hosted by the Atlantic about equity in cancer care, Dr. Pierce spoke about increasing equity in clinical trials.
- Editorial: The Path to Health Equity Starts with Access to Care (Page 16): Dr. Pierce co-authored an op-ed with President of ACS-CAN, Lisa Lacasse, about addressing equity by increasing access to care.
- Editorial: Equitable Cancer Care: Steps Toward Meaningful Change: ASCO President Dr. Pierce (2020-2021) shares how a focus on equitable cancer care is shaping ASCO’s strategic plans.
For the Patient Community
ASCO offers a variety of articles and podcasts about health equity through its patient education website, Cancer.Net, including:
- Expert Q&A on Cancer Disparities and Health Equity
- How Cancer Clinical Trials Can Help Reduce Health Care Disparities
- Interview with Dr. Karen Winkfield on Social Determinants of Health and How They Affect People with Cancer
- Patient Resource List about Cancer Disparities and Health Equity
Policy and Position Statements
ASCO has developed an extensive portfolio of policy and position statements focused on equity in cancer care in research. Statements include:
- Spotlight on International Quality: COVID-19 and Its Impact on Quality Improvement in Cancer Care (October 2021)
- ASCO’s Statement on Addressing Racism in Oncology (2021)
- Recommendations from the ASCO Academic Global Oncology Task Force (November 2020)
- Improving Diversity in Clinical Trial Participation (October 2020)
- ASCO's Cancer Disparities and Health Equity Statement (August 2020)
- American Society of Clinical Oncology’s Global Oncology Leadership Task Force: Findings and Actions (August 2017)
- Strategies for Reducing Cancer Health Disparities Among Sexual and Gender Minority Populations (April 2017)
- AACR, ACS, ASCO, and NCI Joint Statement on Cancer Health Disparities Research (July 2017)
- Improving the Evidence Base for Treating Older Adults With Cancer (July 2015)
- Opportunities in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to Reduce Cancer Care Disparities (August 2011)
- Disparities in Cancer Care (June 2009)
Equity Cancer Research
Recent studies, articles, and research initiatives focused on health equities in cancer care:
- 2021 Annual Meeting Global Health Abstracts
- JCO Oncology Practice Special Series: Disparities in Cancer Care for Black People in the United States
- ASCO Member Survey on Health Equity Awareness and Perceptions
- 2020 Snapshot: State of the Oncology Workforce in America
- Closing the Rural Cancer Care Gap: Three Institutional Approaches
- ASCO-ACCC Initiative to Increase Participation of Racial and Ethnic Minority Populations in Cancer Treatment Trials
- 2020 Annual Meeting Health Disparities Abstracts
- 2020 Annual Meeting Global Health Abstracts
- 2020 Genitourinary Cancers Symposium Disparities Abstracts
- 2020 Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium Disparities Abstracts
- 2019 Annual Meeting Global Health Abstracts
- 2018 Quality Care Symposium: Understanding and Addressing Disparities in Cancer Care
ASCO and Conquer Cancer would like to thank the following donors of the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Initiative.
Breast Cancer Research Foundation®
Bristol Myers Squibb
The Hearst Foundation, Inc.
Janssen Research & Development, LLC
Massachusetts Society of Clinical Oncologists
Nebraska Oncology Society
Northern New England Clinical Oncology Society
R & D Impact Foundation
Swim Across America
TAIHO Oncology, Inc.
Truist Charitable Fund
Vaniam Group LLC
Women Leaders in Oncology LLC
*This list is current as of December 14, 2021.